It’s been about a week since FIFA’s President Sepp Blatter announced his plans to step down after 17 years at the helm of the world’s football organization. Blatter’s move comes at a sensitive time where FIFA is trying to salvage what’s left its tarnished reputation. Emerging from the dust of a scandal won’t be easy for the popular football organization but its time for FIFA to start looking inward at its current practices to identify blind spots.
Transparency International recommends that FIFA sponsors should “take collective action to pressure FIFA, its confederations and national federations to meet the highest standards of compliance and ethics.” This should not just be limited to the game but greater transparency should be provided around contracts, VIP invitations and gifts.
Next, an independent reform committee should be created and composed of directors appointed independently and not funded by FIFA, TI says. This committee will have the power to identify, investigate red flags, publish reports, and provide recommendations to the football’s executive committee. “Reform cannot come from within FIFA, nor from those who are no longer credible,” says TI.
In “FIFA Drops the Ball: Corruption and FCPA Charges,” Compliance Week Columnist Tom Fox reported that over the years, FIFA refused to police itself and release the internal report prepared by Michael Garcia over allegations of corruption around selection of the 2018 World Cup site in Russia and the 2022 World Cup site in Qatar.
For FIFA to cleanup it’s act and recreate a more transparent organization, more disclosure is needed. The global football organization should provide more information about salaries, expenses, and how the football organization distributes its resources, which aligns with internationally accepted standards. TI says that the national federations should disclose how much money they obtain from FIFA and how it was allocated.
Last month, nine FIFA officials and five corporate executives were charged for participating in a 24-year scheme of racketeering, wire fraud, tax evasion, money laundering and bribery.